The game(s) that got you into the hobby

Continuing the discussion from Last game you DIDN'T buy?:

and that got me thinking… not necessarily the first games (or even the first modern games) you played, but the games you fell in love with, the ones that made you think “yes, I am a boardgamer now”.

I’d been playing a few things, partly because of my demo work for Steve Jackson Games, but the ones that really sucked me in were Flash Point: Fire Rescue and Coup.


There are some games I would totally get rid of if it weren’t for nostalgia. (I am a very nostalgic person)

Carcasonne would be gone. As would Dixit, Catan, Talisman.

It’s not always the case, though. I’ve recently shipped out 7 Wonders and am working on getting rid of Machi Koro.


Catan was definitely my first experience with a “German” board game, but the three games that really solidified my interest in tabletop gaming (and ultimately led me to games like Catan) were Magic: The Gathering, Axis & Allies and the 2nd edition of AD&D. There’s no real surprise to me that my collection has shifted back towards the thematic side over the last few years.

[EDIT] Major credit due to the early days of Xbox Live Arcade, which had several digital/online implementations of significant euro designs (Catan, TTR, Lost Cities, Carcassonne, to name a few).


Carcasonne, dominion and pandemic for me.

Still possibly one of the best hauls I’ve ever bought.


Catan. I know, I know, boring, but I played a lot of board games (and TTRPGs) during my high school years and none of them ever really felt “right.”

Catan was a revolution when I first played it. It also taught me that I have to be very careful to fight against my default tendencies to lie, cheat, and steal for a victory. Turns out that my childhood taught me that I must win at all times under any circumstance, and that is hard to fight against. Catan helped.

After that I played a lot of card games I now hate (Munchkin, Killer Bunnies, Chez Geek), and a few war games I now hate (Cosmic Encounters and Diplomacy, specifically). That led me to Carcassonne, one of the few games I think everybody should play, and that led me into the wider world of Euros and eventually to beautiful, beautiful Ameritrash games that I continue to love (Dune, Twilight Imperium 1st-4th Editions, War of the Ring, Game of Thrones). I still like Euros, but unlike some of the older Ameritrash games which I think still hold up, my taste in Euros continues to evolve (Brass Birmingham is just better than Brass, Race for the Galaxy is just better than San Juan, etc… IMO, YMMV).


It wasn’t so much particular games that got me into the hobby so much as moving to an area where I knew nobody and hitting upon the local gaming meetup as a place where I could make friends without being expected to drink or flirt :+1:


Escape from Colditz was my gateway drug as a child. Talisman as a teenager, although compared to the old GW games I used to love modern Warrior Knights is vastly better. Settlers of Catan hit the UK when I was a student, so that got me into boardgaming.

Other games of hobbying note - Traveller as my first roleplaying game, and Fighting Fantasy for combining reading and adventuring (and I rushed out and bought the two new books for the 40th anniversary)


Warhammer, specifically Man O’War and Epic 40,000

Followed by a long hiatus, then Munchkin and Zombies!!!

Then came TTR, Agricola and Carcassonne


I turn 50 very early in the new year and can remember playing loads of games in my early childhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s. So many stand out including the first editions of games many of you will know of - Survive, Scotland Yard, The Fury of Dracula, Talisman - but some other early titles with less robust and long lasting mechanics also give me fond memories. These include Exploration where you buy crew, vehicles and equipment before setting off to find remote archeological sites or lost treasure, and the old style Avalon Hill wargame Gettysburg based on the historical battle.

This also reminds me that it has been nearly 40 years since getting into roleplaying, when my godfather bought me the red box D&D Basic set for my 10th birthday. I created my first character (a Dwarf) and played my first session that evening and loved it. Sadly, that also reminds me that it has been about 30 years since I last roleplayed too.


I guess I lost the plot and failed to continue my thought after my tangent…

So Carcassonne was absolutely one of the first games I remember being aware of in this modern hobby boardgaming thing. I was at a friend’s halloween party and I overheard someone lamenting not playing a farmer when they should. Coming from a background of either roleplaying and computer games, I made note of it, thinking, “in what kind of game can a farmer be pivotal?”.

Later, I was attending a local gaming convention that was cofounded by my brother-in-law and the aforementioned woefully-farmer-less friend. I was there expecting to play one-shot roleplaying games, but ended up catching up with a former classmate of my partner’s and he asked if we wanted to play some games.

We played Dixit, and the friend mentioned that he saw it on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop series. I was floored by Dixit and, despite it not being then and still not being my favorite sort of game, it definitely opened my eyes to boardgaming.

Shortly after that experience, I started looking into board games, doing research and becoming as educated as I could on the subject (this is a typical pattern when I learn about something new). By the time Christmas had rolled around, I had probably two dozen games on my wishlist – a wishlist that my mother took to her local game store (that she used to drop me off at when I was a teenage as a free babysitter) and that’s how I ended up with Carcassonne, which I played the next day at another Christmas gathering. It’s good… not great. But it’s easy for “non-gamers” to understand and that was definitely something that made an impression on me about the importance of “approachability” in games.


All right, allow me to step back in time for a minute…

Perhaps weirdly, Battletech started me playing RPGs. It led to AD&D, then to D&D 3rd edition, then to brief forays into 7th Sea and L5R (currently in a Zoom game of Risus).

Magic: The Gathering got me into card games, which really only means I played one miserable game of Spellfire and then L5R for a few years (stopped around 2008).

For board games, it was 7 Wonders Duel and Patchwork. And that has lead me here. :smiley:


The RPG side started rather earlier, for me, but perhaps that’s a thread over on the RPG side.


I think I told this long take previously on the SUSD forum, but I’ll repeat and bore you all again!

As a child I played Escape from Atlantis and Scotland Yard regularly with my Dad. As mass market family games of the 80s go I think I got lucky and it really sparked the enthusiasm. A short while later Warhammer 40K took over my life. I made the tale end of Rogue Trader but 2nd Ed was the one. By the time 4th ed rolled around I was old enough to go to a games club in a pub, it shortly led to Confrontation and had an intermittent array of board games. Mostly classic euros and the occasional more simulationist type or ameritrash, nothing that super grabbed my attention until I bought Attika I think that really cemented my love for board games and began the shift away from miniature wargames. Very shortly after I got RoboRally and those 2 were probably it. There was a chunk of Munchkins too which I enjoyed initially, but when the puns wear out the awfulness of the game shines through.


The switch from „casually playing games“ to „boardgamer“ was very gradual when I look at my history.

So a list of most influential games is in order (otherwise just look up 80s SdJ winners).

  • Magic The Gathering still influences how and what I play to a degree that keeps surprising me.
  • I know this gamer who introduced me to the most fascinating games at uni (late 90s): Die Macher, Ursuppe, Robo Rally and so many more. Each of these did their own little piece drawing me in… but it still took quite a few more years from there.
  • Carcassonne: for some reason I still love this one despite playing it almost as much against the same competitive players as Catan (which I hate and that is why it is not on this list even though it should be—probably).
  • Arkham Horror: my introduction to something „not a euro“ (not counting early encounters with Risk et al)
  • Terra Mystica: my first time preordering a new game (I think 2012 is the year boardgames became a hobby, although it took me another 6 years or so to realize it)

Hmmm always played traditional family games, chess etc. Then RPGs from age 12 or so, Diplomacy and Warhammer Fantasy Battle with different school roleplaying groups. What I can’t quite remember is the reasoning behind a lurch to modern boardgames - probably just picked up in the rpg shop at the time. Like others Settlers (of Catan) and Carcassonne being early purchases (early 00s I think).

So really it has been continuous gaming in one form or another - and it has been great to see it all evolve and to share it with friends and family. And I am often rubbish too, I don’t really mind!


Pretty much every board game Games Workshop made. I got them all as birthday or Christmas presents. Not sure I actually got to play them all that much though. That honour goes to Magic, Jyhad, and Roborally.


Overall, I probably have to thank my friend in 6th grade for introducing us to the TSR RPG Top Secret/S.I. Though we had the rules completely wrong (as taught to us by our friend, and I only realized it much later when I purchased my own copy), we had a blast playing agents of some organization tearing through bad guys (and getting torn up in return). Since we were studying Greek mythology in school at the time, we kept making characters with codenames based on the myths.

This same friend did a very ridiculous session of D&D for us, just putting our 1st level characters against a green dragon, since I don’t think he really wanted to play it, and wiping us out. The fantasy setting worked for me and one other friend, so we invested in buying the old D&D box sets and would switch off running campaigns for each other. We moved on to AD&D soon after.

If it hadn’t been for these RPG experiences, I probably would not have gone with my friend to a high school which had a gaming club. There I was exposed to so many board games. Fury of Dracula (1st ed), Nuclear War, Diplomacy, Axis & Allies, Fortress America, Awful Green Things from Outer Space, Talisman, Space Hulk, Battle for Armageddon, and many others. It was here that I also got into Magic: the Gathering and also the Star Wars CCG.

I’d have to say these are what made me fully consider myself a gamer, even though games tapered off a bit in college and after and I only really got back into them after Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop series.


It was seeing union pacific in a magazine article which I got mixed up in my head and bought ticket to ride about 8 years later.


Munchkin! Somehow I got in a conversation with someone at work, who then taught me the game. And then I played with friends, and thought it was great fun. And didn’t involve a screen! Then we had a game which literally went all day, and I thought “ok, board games are great, but there has to be something better out there.”


Phase 1, as a kid in the 80s, I used to play Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Risk, Monopoly, Escape from Atlantis etc, but the one that broke the mold was Hero Quest, and in particular, Advance Hero Quest.

Phase 2, now in the late 2010s into early 2020s, I don’t think there is definitely the one game that made it back for me. It was discovering SUSD through a Lindybeige video back in late 2018 (reviewing Glorantha: The God Wars), then buying Fog of Love (which I ended up selling) and wanting to play Gloomhaven, which reeked of Hero Quest nostalgia to me. I think buying that beast and joining the local Gamers Guild here in Hawke’s Bay, already in NZ, was what hooked me.